Senate Democrats force delay in panel’s vote on Gorsuch
Three more likely to vote no on Trump’s high court choice.
Senate Democrats on Monday forced a one-week delay in a committee vote on President Don- ald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who remains on track for confirmation with solid Republican backing.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judi- ciary Committee, announced that, as expected, Democrats have requested a postpone- ment. The committee vote on Judge Neil Gorsuch now will be held April 3.
As the committee readies to vote, three addi- tional Democrats said they are likely to vote against the Denver-based appeals court judge.
Florida Sen. Bill Nel- son and Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono said they will vote against Gorsuch, and Ver- mont Sen. Patrick Leahy tweeted that he still was undecided but inclined to oppose him. Leahy is a senior member of the Judiciary panel and a former chairman.
That means at least 17 Democrats and indepen- dents, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, have announced their oppo- sition to the Denver-based appeals court judge, arguing that Gorsuch has ruled too often against workers and in favor of corporations.
The Democrats who have announced their opposition have also said they will try to block the nominee, mean- ing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will have to hold a procedural vote requiring 60 votes to move forward. The Senate GOP has a 52-48 majority, meaning McConnell will need support from at least eight Democrats or independents.
It was unclear whether he would be able to get the 60 votes. If he doesn’t, McConnell seems ready to change Senate rules and confirm him with a simple majority.
Republicans had hoped that they’d see some support from the 10 Democrats running for re-election in states won by Trump in the presidential election, but four of those senators — Nelson, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin — have already said they will oppose the nom- inee.
Leahy, however, signaled that he may be willing to break from Schumer and vote with Republicans on the procedural vote, while also signaling in a separate tweet he’d vote against Gorsuch in the final, up or down vote.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, also noted at the brief committee meeting Monday the “depth of feeling” among Democrats after Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the same seat, Merrick Garland.